Google’s unanswered question

January 29, 2008, 10:18 PM UTC

In advance of Google’s being named the best company to work for in America, for the second year in a row I sat down recently with the founders of Google (GOOG), Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and CEO Eric Schmidt. Toward the end of the interview, I asked what Google will do when it inevitably hits the wall, when the company suffers a major hiccup. Sergey Brin gave a thoughtful answer that essentially said that everything Google does for employees will serve it well in tough times. (A different version of the interview appears in the current issue of Fortune Magazine.)

That’s good and fine. But what I really want to know is whether Google does scenario planning for that day and if so, what’s the plan of action. No company is immune from a major slowdown — or worse. IBM (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), Dell (DELL), even Wal-Mart (WMT). Each was invincible at some point, and each sooner or later missed its moment. Each planned inadequately for the deluge. Is it even possible? I’d love to know your thoughts.